LAS VEGAS -- General Motors is bringing together two of the hottest areas of technology -- smartphones and plug-in electric cars.
GM's OnStar telematics unit has developed a downloadable application that will let Chevrolet Volt drivers use a Blackberry Storm, Apple iPhone or Motorola Droid to remotely control and monitor some vehicle functions, such as charging.
The Volt is slated to go into production late this year and arrive in California utility company fleets by early 2011.
GM demonstrated the mobile application for reporters yesterday at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The driver will be able to use the phone for various functions, including:
• Scheduling or initiating charging;
• Getting status reports, such as how much electric driving range is available; and
• Warming up or cooling the vehicle before getting in.
Another feature allows text messages to remind drivers to plug their vehicles in.
“The experience of operating this vehicle is going to be unique for customers, and we're trying to give them as much flexibility and control as they are going to need,” Nick Pudar, OnStar's vice president for business planning and development, told reporters at a briefing last month.
The mobile application also will handle some functions currently available only if a driver contacts the OnStar call center. Those include remote door locking and unlocking and turning on the horn and lights to help drivers locate their vehicles.
Pudar said OnStar is considering expanding some smartphone applications to other GM vehicles.